ACA Roundup: Obama's Solution to Cancelled Health Plans

A roundup of the latest news about Obamacare.

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Obama's Solution to Cancelled Health Plans

On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that thousands of Americans whose health plans have been cancelled would be allowed to keep their existing policies for 2014 coverage, even though the policies do not meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act. "I understand why folks are frustrated," Mr. Obama said. "I would be, too." The New York Times reported that, in discussing his earlier statements that Americans who liked their coverage would not lose it, Obama said, "there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate."

Enrollment Numbers Lower Than Expected

The numbers are out for the first month of the ACA open enrollment period and they are far from the 7 million needed to make the Affordable Care Act work in its first year. A total of 106,000 people have enrolled nationwide, reports the Washington Post, and enrollment figures from the federal exchange account for less than 20 percent of that number. Just 26,794 people enrolled in health plans through healthcare.gov, while more than 79,000 signed up through the 14 states running their own websites. Consumers still have until the end of March 31, 2014, to sign up for coverage on the federal and state-based exchanges.  

Would You Share Your Medical Information for Money?

On Wednesday, HealthDay and Harris Interactive released a poll that found many Americans would be willing to give their insurers private medical information such as their height, weight and genetic testing results if they were financially compensated for them. "Of the more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed Oct. 21-23, 76 percent said they would share the results of blood pressure tests, 68 percent said they would reveal whether they have diabetes or high cholesterol, and 49 percent said they would undergo invasive genetic testing to determine their risk of cancer or inherited medical conditions," reports U.S. News

Are Expanding ‘Medical Deserts’ a Legacy of Obamacare?

A combination of health care economics, political forces and demographic trends have triggered a quiet epidemic of hospital closures throughout the country, U.S. News reports. Experts say the closures are likely to continue, even as the Obama administration attempts to expand health care coverage to all Americans through the Affordable Care Act. In fact, some analysts say Obamacare may be unintentionally exacerbating the problem: To help pay for the program, the administration has cut federal reimbursements to hospitals that treat the uninsured, on the theory that those payments won’t be as necessary if everyone has health insurance. This leads to tragedies like one that happened in Texas in August, when 18-month old Edith Gonzales died in her parents arms when they rushed the choking toddler to the emergency room, only to find that the one hospital in their county had closed. “We don’t know how often that sort of thing happens,” said Alan Sager, a Boston University professor of health policy and management. That’s because the growing problem of “medical deserts,” he said, is much like the movement of a glacier: nearly invisible day-to-day, but “over time, you can see big changes.”

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